A week removed from claiming the 182-pound title at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III Tournament, Central Valley High School standout varsity boys wrestler Ruben Valenzuela fulfilled two additional goals on Saturday.
Valenzuela qualified for the CIF State Meet.
He also became the youngest grappler in CVHS history to accomplish that feat.
Valenzuela punched his ticket to state with a sixth-place finish at the Masters Tournament, staged Feb. 19-20, at Stockton Arena.
“It’s pretty special I made it as a sophomore,” he said. “My family is excited for me. I want to keep pushing and try to be better than I am now.”
Valenzuela compiled a 4-3 record at Masters.
He staved off elimination by winning back-to-back matches on Saturday.
Valenzuela clinched a berth to state after pinning Rosemont’s Logan Angeles in the second period (2:29).
Valenzuela dropped into the consolation bracket after opening the tournament on Friday with consecutive victories.
“It (losing) made me focus more and perform better,” he said. “It was stressful but I knew I had to push if I wanted to make it to state. I gave it everything I had. It was really tough on my body.”
Valenzuela notched wins against Del Oro’s Colton Guthrie (pin, 1:52), El Dorado’s Jeremiah Hunt (pin, 0:41) and Turlock’s Achilles Clarke (pin, 1:28).
He lost twice to Bella Vista’s Bryan Henkel (9-1, forfeit) and once to Oakmont’s James Mintmier (decision, 13-9).
Valenzuela added more hardware to his mantel.
He placed first at the Central California Conference Championships, Mike Tamana Tournament and Ceres Invitational, and second at the James Riddle Classic.
“It means more than all of my other medals. I had to beat a lot of good people.”Ruben Valenzuela
“It means more than all of my other medals,” Valenzuela said. “I had to beat a lot of good people.”
Valenzuela posted a 1-2 record in the 160-pound bracket at Masters as a freshman.
He broke his right wrist during his third match.
“I finished the match and got pulled out of the tournament,” he said. “Last year was a learning experience. I got bigger. I have more technique.”
Valenzuela joined elite company this winter by becoming just the fourth male wrestler from Central Valley High School to advance to state.
He follows in the footsteps of Michael Miller, David Lezama and Adrian Vizcaino.
Valenzuela improved his career record to 66-16.
He’s won 35 of 40 matches this season.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it to state this year,” Valenzuela said. “I worked hard and my coaches pushed me. I’m going to try to do the best I can at state, win or lose.”
Kyle Hendrix (152 pounds, 1-2 record), Juan Lezama (170s, 1-2), Thomas Carrillo, (195 pounds, 1-2 record) and Natanael Lezama (220s, 1-2) all compiled identical records while competing for the final time for Central Valley last week.
Hendrix beat Grace Davis’ Alfred Valdez (pin, 0:36).
He lost to Enochs’ Zion Mahoney (major decision, 10-0) and Pacheco’s Jose Villasenor (decision, 5-1).
Juan Lezama beat Will C. Wood’s Steven Lukens (pin, 1:58).
He lost to Oak Ridge’s Gabe Guzman (pin, 2:22) and Bella Vista’s Danny Harris (major decision, 11-2).
Carrillo beat Tokay’s Robert De La Torre (pin, 0:43).
He lost to Beyer’s Raul Garcia (pin, 1:48) and Elk Grove’s Nolan Frank (pin, 1:52).
Natanael Lezama won by forfeit.
He lost to Calaveras’ Bradley Fuller (pin, 3:35) and Del Campo’s Kenneth Dentley (pin, 4:55).